Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jury Duty.

That is where I have been for the past three days. My very first time serving in this capacity. How do I describe it to you? Scintillating? Maybe not. Thrilling? Um, no. Riveting? Definitely not. Mind-numbing, boredom inducing? Yes.
Not my fellow jurors. No, they were a lot of fun to be with. But the process (if you could call it one) was excruciatingly s.l.o.w. Sit and wait, take a short break, sit and wait some more. Ad nauseum.
We were quite a diverse group. There were a few teachers, a builder, moms (me included), a financial planner, retirees, young and old, men and women.
We sat in what proved to be the coldest location in the court house. The woman at the desk delighted in informing us that there was nothing they could do about the frigid air blowing from the vents. The donning of sweaters was de regeur and even then it was still cold. But, we had claimed that room as ours, bonded together as a group and nothing, freezing temperatures included, could make us move to a warmer locale.
The crackle of the speaker would bring a voice listing a series of numbers of potential jurors and we each held our breath waiting to see if one of us would be among them. I was number 150. My hopes were not that high that I would be called early on.
I believe that during my three days at the Henry County Courthouse, I drank my weight in diet Coke, munched on a few granola bars and wore off the calories consumed by crocheting granny squares. I almost wasn't even allowed to do that.
Coming in on Monday, I spied a woman knitting an afghan. "Perfect!", I thought. I would be able to work on my squares. Tuesday morning found me going through the security line with my knitting bag only to have someone say, "Stop! Scissors!" Whoops. My tiny embroidery scissors. I forgot they were in the bag. I had to relinquish them to the top desk drawer.
The security guard then asked if I had needles in my bag. I pulled out my crochet hook to show him. My wooden crochet hook, without a point.
"We're not supposed to let you in with pointed objects."
"Really, I saw a woman knitting yesterday and that is the only reason I brought mine today. And the hook is not pointed and it's made of wood!"
" Well, it's still pointy and her needles might have been plastic."
"So is the pen in my purse."
"Oh, alright. You can take it in with you. Will you be crocheting today?"
"Yes and thank you." Seriously, why else would I have six skeins of yarn and a crochet hook? To tie people up and poke their eyes out? Do I look like someone who would come armed with a handmade weapon and a nefarious intent? Criminy willikers!
The third day of my adventure finally brought me to a court room, where I was dismissed as a potential juror because I knew someone in law enforcement. Back to the jury pool for me. I found myself feeling a bit disappointed. It would have been interesting to see how the process works in real life, without the cleverly scripted dialogue and scenes found on television.
Hours more passed by, lunch was consumed, baby gifts purchased during a break and then back to the refrigerator for a few more hours of boredom. Everyone was getting antsy.
At four-twenty pm, we were released of our duties, and sent home with a "Thank you." from the woman behind the desk. Surrendering our traverse juror tags into the bucket, shoulders straightened, bounces came back to steps, we filed out of the courthouse into the lazy afternoon sun and wended our merry ways home.
I hope that I don't get called back for a very long time.

6 comments:

monix said...

I was called for jury service a few years ago. After five days of the boredom you describe, waiting to be called and then dismissed each day, too late to do anything useful in the town, I was eventually selected to sit on a jury. Believe me, the boredom was greater! No TV style denouement, no 'Objection!' - just a falling out among thieves and guessing which one was telling the truth.
I'll settle for re-runs of Perry Mason for my courtroom drama in future.

Fete et Fleur said...

Something must be in the air for jury duty. I got a summons today! Yikes!! I'll let you know how it goes.

Nancy

Mercy Project said...

Thank you for your kind words, your prayer and encouragement to my sister Mercy over the past few months. She is doing ok. Please look at her blog for her updates that she is writing and I am posting for her.

http://mercyproject.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Karin, Karin, Karin, I had to pop over to see what fun adventures you had on jury duty.
Looks like the answer is zero, or below that.
So let me just tell you that the process you were part of is VERY important. Even if you felt like it was a waste, it totally wasn't. What you did, by sitting there, being bored and COLD and available (for being picked for trial) is a biggie. Huge! If only you could have seen what happens on the other side of the courthouse. (It's always cold there too.) Well, you know what? One day you should do that during jury trial week (in your spare time hahaha). One of my favorite parts of trial week was actually at the end of a case, when we finally got to talk with the jurors and learn how they came to their decisions. Very cool process.
So THANK YOU Karin!!
Rebekah

Senior Bowler-Carolyn said...

Never had the "privilege" of being called to jury duty...well I did once but since I was the only one in my organzation that did what I did...the company got me out of it. I have heard horror stories about sitting in little room with strange people for days and not getting called or of people sitting on a jury and then them settling out of court.

Amy Ellen said...

While never having been on a jury, Idid sit for hours on end repeatedly with a friend who was going through some stuff, a divorce and criminal trial against the husband. And I must say it was long, boring, cold, uncomfortable, I could not reach the floors,I am a short gal, and while I am glad I could be there for a friend, I am so very hopeful that, knock on wood, I will need to do this again.
Amy